Sinking by

I really couldn’t stay, but he kept calling me back to bed, Oh, Bunker Boy! Rolling on the sheets like some street cat that found a home. Purring the loveliest noises, nothing I’d heard in these United States in my long life. Come here, Bunker Boy. I put down my drink and bent over my oxfords, tying their waxed laces, my fingers still slippery from glass sweat. If I tilted my head just slightly, I could hear the ice crack and shift in my bourbon glass behind me. His calling was relentless: the twisting, the limbs dancing in the air, the sheets a knot of silk. I looked him in the eyes and insisted, again, I really must go. They’re calling my name. Surely, he could hear the cheers coming from outside. Stay inside, Bunker Boy, he said, and grabbed my necktie when I leaned over his writhing body to kiss his pout. My body stiffened under his touch. They don’t want to see you, Bunker Boy. He flipped my body with some effort, so I was on my back in the tangle of sheets. I sank in his scent, catching notes of tuberose, leather, and musk. The room spun as I clutched my forehead, Say, what’s in that drink?  No answer came. No Bunker Boy purred in some far away accent. My body sank and sank. I heard a thud and the skipping of my belt on the wooden floor. I was being dragged across the room and there was nothing I could do about it. My vision doubled: nothing was clear. The clink of a door prompted my calling out, They need me out there! Can’t you hear them calling my name? But all I heard was the click of hooves on wood, then muffled silence, then more clicking. An outburst of cheers poured in from outside louder than any I’d heard before. My pulse quickened. Sweat pooled in the pits of my clavicles: my breath a punch. Then, soft chanting. Nothing could out-cry my own wails.



Ryan Norman (he/him) is a queer writer from New York living in the Hudson Valley. Ryan enjoys swimming in mountain lakes and climbing tall things. He is a contributing editor of creative nonfiction with Barren Magazine. His work has appeared in X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Black Bough Poetry, Hobart, Maudlin House, and elsewhere. He has two chapbooks I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE A BOND GIRL (Daily Drunk Press) and CICADA SONG (Finishing Line Press). You can find him on Twitter @RyanMGNorman or


Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash


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